Senior Ely laywoman welcomes the UK’s first female bishop

Dr Elaine Storkey

Dr Elaine Storkey - Credit: Archant

An Ely-based senior church laywoman has reacted with “enormous delight” at the news of the first female bishop in the Church of England.

Bishop Libby Lane

Bishop Libby Lane - Credit: Archant

The appointment of Rev Libby Lane in Chester ends centuries of male leadership and comes 20 years after women were able to become priests.

Ely-based Dr Elaine Storkey, a senior laywoman on the church’s General Synod, told the BBC that she was: “delighted” that they picked an ordinary female priest.

“In many ways, Libby’s appointment signifies that bishops, people in purple, are ordinary people, from the pews and then from the clergy. And she’s not been a high-flier.

“She’s just been a first-class priest doing a marvellous job in that diocese,” she said during a BBC radio interview.

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The church changed its rules in November, overturning centuries of tradition, to allow women to become bishops.

Rev Lane will become Bishop of Stockport, an assistant post in the Diocese of Chester, when she is consecrated at a ceremony at York Minster.

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She has been the vicar at St Peter’s Hale and St Elizabeth’s Ashley since 2007.

Dr Storkey said Rev Lane and her husband, a strong campaigner against human trafficking, were fantastic Christians who had a wide compass of making the gospel relevant wherever they worked.

And she hoped that the appointment of a solid down to earth female priest wold stop schisms in the church from people who still believed women should not be bishops.

“Here we’ve got a very orthodox woman, a woman who does preach the Faith orthodoxly and faithfully and who believes the scriptures. I think we’ll win many people over. So I think that schism is less likely, now that we have this particular appointment,” she said.

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